Peacemaker: Attorney's love for law especially contagious


By Jeanine Matlow

Legal News

Bob Vercruysse is accustomed to seeing both sides of the coin. The president and founder of Vercruysse, Murray, & Calzone in Bingham Farms, Vercruysse specializes in labor and employment law, representing a variety of high profile employers.

In his field, he says it's important to establish a reputation for credibility and he has clearly mastered that aspect of the profession.

"I have a lot of empathy for union employees," says Vercruysse, whose brother once was president of the bricklayers union. "You have to think outside the box for a solution that either party has not thought about. You're essentially a peacemaker."

Vercruysse served as a law clerk for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit and he later became an adjunct professor of labor law at the University of Michigan Law School, which he considered both a "privilege" and an "incredible" experience.

"These are very bright students," he says. "You must be really prepared."

His teaching had a long-term effect when one of his former students, Dave Calzone, became a close friend and a partner in the firm.

Vercruysse gives back to the community by working with the Special Olympics through Central Michigan University. He has handled labor and employment projects for the organization for the past 15 years.

"Everything they do is important," he says of the program that traces its roots to the work of Eunice Kennedy Shriver, sister of President John F. Kennedy.

He also has done extensive work for the State Bar of Michigan and the Federal Bar Association.

As for hobbies, Vercruysse says he loves to sail and the quiet time suits him.

"I just relax and enjoy the ride," he says, noting that his wife also loves to sail. "I struggle at golf, but I'm good company. Sailing is not about getting from place to place. It's about enjoying the ride."

Vercruysse lives in Plymouth with his wife Cynthia, who was the director of employment at the University of Michigan.

"She understands what I do," he says. "The University of Michigan was a client of mine for a long time."

They have two daughters, Ann-Marie Vercruysse Welch, a labor and employment attorney, and Nicole Nemec, also a labor and employment attorney who is taking time off to raise a family.

Their son, Gary, is a trauma surgeon in Atlanta and a professor at Emory University. He spent the last two summers working in Iraq and Afghanistan.

While Vercruysse has been named a "Super Lawyer" numerous times, his daughter Ann-Marie is now recognized as a "Rising Star."

Anne-Marie Vercruysse Welch, an attorney with Clark Hill in Detroit, listened to her parents discuss their jobs at the dinner table.

"Everybody talked about their day. They didn't reveal any confidences," she says. "They just loved their jobs so much. That's why I ended up being an attorney. When parents love what they do, it's contagious."

Welch credits her father with encouraging others to pursue the field of law.

"When he sees potential in people, he tells them," she says.

That's what happened with Reggie Turner, now a well-known attorney at Clark Hill and Welch's mentor. Vercruysse told Turner he would do really well in law school and his prediction was right.

"He's always taken care of family and extended family," Welch says about her father. "He's very supportive."

In fact, Vercruysse encouraged Welch's husband who grew up with parents in the medical field: his father is a physician specializing in maternal fetal medicine and his mother worked as a nurse. Now Welch's husband is a birth trauma defense attorney. The couple recently welcomed twins who may just be the next generation to pursue the field of law.

Published: Tue, Dec 6, 2011